This past Wednesday when my youngest son’s school day ended, his abbreviated spring break began, so Thursday morning we set out to western North Carolina to enjoy some mountain scenery.

We did not travel quickly, and by the time we arrived at our destination it was time for dinner, but the next day we awoke ready for adventure. After looking over the options, we settled on traveling to the Carl Sandberg Home which is part of the National Park Service. Located in the Village of Flat Rock, North Carolina (about 35 miles mostly south and somewhat east of Asheville, North Carolina), the drive was a scenic one — so scenic, in fact, I set aside my crochet to take in the view.

When we arrived the weather was a bit damp and dreary, which, in its way, only added to the adventure. The house itself has spectacular views, while the furnishings inside are extraordinary only for their ordinariness. One item in particular that caught my attention was the telephone:

Carl Sandburg's telephone
The telephone at Carl Sandburg’s house

The Sandburg’s telephone was like many of the telephones of my childhood. Attached to a wall in a central location of the home, it was easy to imagine either Carl or his wife Lilian (aka Paula) standing at the top of the stairs to take a call, and by moving from one side of the phone to the other, I was able to make out the number: OX-33977.

By the time we reached the phone, our tour of the house was nearly done, but our tour of the grounds had just begun, and from that spot at the top of the stairs we made our way out to the yard and followed the signs to the goat barn.

The goats were the reason that the Sandburg family left Michigan and settled in North Carolina in 1945. The Sandburgs’ adventures had begun 10 years earlier with the purchase of two goats. One thing led to another, and in short order, Lilian was an internationally known goat breeder.

Lilian’s story is (to my mind) at least (if not more) interesting than her husband’s. Born in 1883, Lilian Steichen, like many women of that era, had her efforts at education thwarted by her father.

Unlike many women, however, she managed to out maneuver him and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 1904. She applied that same intellectual curiosity and personal determination to breeding dairy goats and changed the dairy goat industry; it was some of the descendants of her original Chikaming herd that we went to see after the tour of the house:

a curious goat
A goat investigates my arrival
Goats conferring
Goats conferring
A goat I want to crochet
A goat I want to crochet

Eventually, it was time to go — my goat adventure ended, and I resumed work on my granny square bag, eventually finishing five additional five-round granny squares, leaving me six squares shy of finished.

Here are the five new squares on their own:

five granny squares
Five more five-round granny squares

and here they are in one possible arrangement:

twelve assorted granny squares
My future crochet granny square bag with six squares to go

My guess is that when Lilian Sandburg ventured out with her daughter Helga to buy what ended up being their first two goats, she had no idea where it all would lead, and it is the promise of an unknown adventure that keeps me crocheting — moving forward, one stitch at a time